Yesterday we were walking in the Tampa area and had the privilege to be joined by the women and girls of Alpha House. Alpha House is a home for young, pregnant survivors of sexual assault or abuse, and other pregnant women who are experiencing crisis. Many of their residents are teens as young as 13, 14 and 15.
Before beginning the walk, I had the opportunity to officially adopt one of Alpha House’s special rooms for new mothers and their babies as a part of the “A Room of Her Own” project. Lauren’s Kids will be paired with a local Tampa designer to decorate the room – so excited to get started, and proud to be involved.
One young mother I walked with told me about being bounced from foster home to foster home after her father went to jail. When she became pregnant in the foster care system, she thought she was never going to make it this far. “But I have made it,” she said. “Now I know if I set my mind to it, I can do anything.” What a powerful moment.
Below is a picture of the amazing Alpha House walk crew. Strollers and all, these women and girls displayed such strength and determination as we walked from Alpha House to Mary Lee’s House child advocacy and protection center. Tuesday was one of my favorite Walk days so far, thank you to everyone involved.
Today, we walked from Ocala to Gainesville. We had about 75 walkers come to join us on this overcast, blustery day, which helped keep team morale high. We were almost pulled off road by our Police escorts several times due to fog and rain, but managed to push on through. I got to meet some amazing people at United Way of Marion County and speak with different survivors and hear about their healing journeys.
Despite the weather, the support we received in Ocala and the opportunity to tackle obstacles as a team reenergized our whole crew and got us very excited to walk through the University of Florida campus tomorrow.
More on that later!
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Update: Tuesday, February 8, 2012
On Monday, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and Gainesville Police Department completed a week-long sting called Operation Tailfeather. The investigators used Craigslist and other websites to catch online predators looking to have sex with children. Twenty-one men were arrested for soliciting minors for sex.
This is why we walk.